Helping students to COPE in the exam!

This is the strategy that I use to teach my students how to answer an e) question on the exam. The question involves a quote being given, e.g “only God has the right to take life”. This is followed by the instructions to discuss, including Christian views and also their own views. The key word in this question is ‘discuss’. Using a structure that allows discussion to be present in their written answer is essential. I find the COPE structure that.  Have created works well and is accessible to most students.

C – Start by giving ONE Christian response to the statement and support it with reasons

O – Now in the SAME paragraph oppose this Christian views giving reasons for the opposition

P – Next offer a personal view on whether you agree with the Christian view or the opposing view.

     Try and do this in no more than two sentences.

E – Then check that throughout the paragraph you have fully explaine all points.


Now write a second paragraph that follows the COPE structure. Start with a different Christian view.


Finally conclude with a personal rant, that is to say return to the original statement and provide a well supported personal view. Use both reasons and examples to justify your personal perspective.


Obviously it is good to equip students with argument indicators which they can then effectively employ in their essay.


About Learning to Teach Lorraine Abbott

Deputy Headteacher in a Surrey School Author for Hodder Education
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